/ 5 February 2009

UN chief expresses concern over al-Bashir warrant

An arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir might have an adverse impact on United Nations personnel in Sudan, UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned in a report issued on Wednesday.

”I am concerned about remarks by some of its officials that the [Sudanese] government may redefine its relationship with Unmis [UN mission in Sudan] should an arrest warrant be issued against President al-Bashir,” he said in his latest report on Sudan.

”I call upon the [Khartoum] government to fulfil its obligations to ensure the safety of United Nations staff and of nationals of state members of the United Nations in Sudan,” he added.

The ICC, which started work in 2002 as the world’s first permanent tribunal on war crimes, is expected to decide as early as this month whether to issue an arrest warrant against al-Bashir, accused by the court’s chief prosecutor last July of 10 counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Unmis was set up to support implementation of the January 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed by the government in Khartoum and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

The signing of the CPA by the SPLM, its armed wing and Khartoum in 2005 ended 21 years of war between north and south that Sudan killed at least two million people and displaced millions more. — Sapa-AFP